Conn. tourism gets boost from filmmaker Ken Burns

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's tourism industry is getting a boost from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

Burns announced Wednesday that he has partnered with a luxury tour group, Tauck Tours of Norwalk, on a redesigned eight-day tour of New England's "hidden gems," which will include a two-day stop in Hartford. The company said it added the Hartford stop at Burns' urging.

Best known for his award-winning documentaries on the Civil War and baseball, Burns and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the announcement at the Mark Twain House, which will be highlighted on the tour along with the home of 19th century abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

"The tourism industry employs about 110,000 people, generates more than $1 billion in state and local tax revenue and brings more than $11 billion in spending to our state," Malloy said in a statement. "While our `Still Revolutionary' marketing campaign is already paying dividends, the addition of this overnight stop in Hartford demonstrates that there is still much untapped potential for tourism in the coming years."

The bus tour will run from June through the fall foliage season, and also include stops at Lexington, Concord, and Fenway Park in Massachusetts, a Shaker community in New Hampshire, the Green and White mountains, and at Burns' studio in Walpole, N.H.

"My mission in making films has always been to explore who we are as Americans," he said. "Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe had a similar goal, at a time when the experience and definition of `being an American' was entirely dictated by the color of one's skin. These two remarkable individuals asked difficult questions of their country, and we became a better place for it."